children's theatre of elgin / fox valley theatre company


Want to try out for CTE shows? Find out all about it right here!

In 1988, CTE was founded with the goal of casting as many interested young people as we possibly could so they could have a chance to learn, improve, perform – and have fun! And that’s still our goal.

Every show starts with an open casting call, meaning that anyone in the right age group may audition and the roles are not pre-cast. We love to cast young people with a broad range of skills, including brand new students.

Note: CTE workshops are definitely helpful preparation for auditions and participation, but are not a requirement.

General Audition Information



Children’s Theatre of Elgin (CTE) is for children in 2nd through 9th grade, but not yet 16 years old. (Exception: the summer production usually includes 1st graders)

Fox Valley Theatre Company (FVTC) is for young people in 9th grade through 20 years.

All CTE and FVTC programs are open to all individuals of the appropriate ages regardless of disability, gender, race, creed, or economic status.

Time commitment

Rehearsals are generally Monday-Thursday evenings from about 6-9:30 pm (about 6-9 pm for CTE shows at The Hemmens) for about 6-8 weeks prior to performances. Most cast members would be scheduled about 2 nights a week for the first few weeks, but once we begin running the full acts all cast members would be expected to attend. Up to 3 excused absences are allowed during regular rehearsals. Additional absences must be approved by producer and may jeopardize student’s participation.

Attendance is required at all tech/dress rehearsals and performances. Shows at The Hemmens Cultural Center include 2 school days.

Volunteers are the backbone of CTE productions!  During registration, parents/guardians and older cast members must sign up for committee work and put in a minimum of 20-30 hours during the production.

Click to see a list of committees and basic duties. Please note that not all committees are needed for every show, so the list may vary.

List of Committees (varies by show)

Audition expectations

Prepare! Prepare! Prepare!

Audition preparation is key to success. Read everything on this page and download CTE’s Audition Tips and watch or review CTE’s “Audition Tips Training Video.”

What to bring to the audition

  •         Sheet music, marked for accompanist
  •         Registration confirmation page printout
  •         Don’t bring a photo – CTE will take a picture when you arrive

Note: Expect to wait an extra 20-30 minutes in line if you don’t register before you come and/or don’t bring your registration printout to the audition.

During the audition

Upon arrival, students are placed in groups of 6-10 for the audition process. Most shows have a reading, music, and dance component.

Reading: Demonstrate good script reading skills and with expression. Students may be asked to show an emotion or pantomime an action.

Dance: Learn a brief dance sequence and be evaluated on enthusiasm as well as ability. (Many shows call for an advanced dance ensemble.)

Music: Song is auditioner’s choice. Bring sheet music for accompanist and additional copy for singer if needed.  No CDs or a cappella singing, please. Don’t choose a song from the show, but an age-appropriate song from another musical would be great.

Music should be 1) clearly marked for accompanist, 2) selected to show the strength of the vocalist, and 3) must not exceed 1 minute in length. Directors look for enthusiasm, vocal quality, tone, pitch, volume and range.

Code of Conduct requirements

All cast members and parents/guardians must read and agree to abide by CTE’s codes of conduct. Violation of the code may lead to cast member’s immediate removal from the show and may jeopardize further participation.

Cast Member Code of Conduct (minors)
Cast Member Code of Conduct  Age 18+
Adult-Parent Volunteer Code of Conduct

Cost to participate

There is no audition fee. For those cast, fees are due in full at the parent meeting, usually the first day of rehearsal. Participation fees vary, but generally are as follows:

  •         The Hemmens Cultural Center shows: Approx. $115 per participant (includes t-shirt + CTE fees)
  •         Elgin Community College Arts Center shows: Approx. $260 per show (includes t-shirt + CTE fees + ECC required tuition)

If student is cast but drops out, CTE staff must be notified by noon of the Monday following the first scheduled rehearsal to receive a refund. Specific shoes (usually jazz, character, or tap shoes) as well as some costume pieces and personal makeup and hair supplies will also be required. For shows performed at The Hemmens Cultural Center, cast families may be asked to provide treats to sell during intermission or pay an additional fee to opt out.  

Fees assistance

We are pleased to offer a limited number of partial participation fees scholarships to cast members with a genuine financial need who would otherwise not be able to participate. To apply, download and submit our scholarship form and submit along with the required documentation by the close of auditions. Enclose all paperwork in a sealed envelope marked “CTE Scholarship Committee” and mail to “Children’s Theatre of Elgin, 1700 Spartan Drive H104, Elgin IL 60123” or scan and email it to Additional volunteer service is expected of parents and/or cast members over age 18 years when scholarship support is provided. It is also our hope that, if at some future date the family is in a position to give back to CTE as a donor, they will choose to do so. Questions? Contact Susan at 847-214-7152 or CTE Scholarship Application


Audition Registration

Read everything on the page above before registering.

Registration must be completed by parents or auditioners 18 years or older.